If YOU were the Prime Minister, would you respond to tweets?

There was an interesting piece on ABC’s Lateline on Tuesday, suggesting that politicians are only using social media to push their message at voters.

The argument is roughly that, for example, Gillard has oodles of followers and she tweets like a canary, but she never responds to tweets, and that Abbott doesn’t even do that.

The criticism (voiced by Jim McNamara) is

” It’s essentially a one-way conversation and that’s not what social media’s about and it’s not what the research is showing. Research is showing that people don’t want more information from politicians and government, they actually want more listening.

I’m not sure I’d want Gillard – or whichever staffer has the password to the account – wasting time replying to tweets or retweeting.  It’s a decidedly non-Prime Ministerial activity, at least in the eyes of (and I’m guessing here) most of the electorate.  Their time might be better spent responding to posts on the facebook page, though.  There’s scope to cut and paste a faux-personalized message on facebook, and you’re not limited to 140 characters.  There can then be a huge thread following the PM’s post, all aware that she’d posted.  In my opinion, this could be a worthwhile strategy.

Some politicians DO use social media effectively.  The Greens are doing an excellent job (BIAS ALERT – I’m a member of the Greens) using facebook to engage with and respond to followers. The Greens are well suited to web 2.0, IMHO – they have strong grassroots and an active membership compared to the 2 major parties, and don’t have the burden of actually having to govern.

It’s easy to bag politicians for squandering the possibilities made available by social media.  I think that it’s a lot harder to devise a worthwhile and time-effective strategy that the PM or Leader of the Opposition can deploy without raising more questions than they’d answer.

Posted in FaceBook, Politics, Twitter | 5 Comments

Content-on-demand doesn’t work when I’m demanding the content before you’ve finished it. Damn.

So, I’m reading Mark Scott’s recent (June) address to the Australian Council Marketing Summit, as you do, and it occurs to me that I’m never going to be satisfied.

As the MD of the ABC, he’s got good cause to be happy with many of the advances the ABC have made in making their content available across a variety of platforms.  The thing is, I now want to be able to jump online as soon as the kids are in bed (at 8.00) and immediately stream Kerry O’Brien’s grilling of the politician of the day on the 7.30 report.  I don’t like waiting for it to be posted later.  I hate following conversations held in facebook groups commenting on the show, and not being able to participate RIGHT NOW!  And I want to comment under the transcript when it appears.  Not on the off-site letters page.

Obviously, I’m spoilt.  I’m old enough that I paid for my own internet connection in the early-ish days of 1993, and marveled at the content available.  I also remember when cookies were reviled throughout the geek universe.  Back then, of course, after you milked the cows and chopped enough firewood to fuel the Aga for the day’s cooking and to run your steam-powered 386 PC, you had compelling reasons to create your own content.  Namely, there wasn’t that much.  These days, that’s not a valid reason for creating content.  But I digress.

I’ve been trained to expect content-on-demand.  So I do.  I’m as impatient as a 19 year old fuming while waiting for stock of the new iPhone to hit the shelves.  Reading through some facebook pages (and particularly some of the ‘worst of facebook’ posts on NSFW sites like lamebook and failbook), it’s pretty obvious that people are too impatient to even review what they’ve written before stabbing at the ‘post’ button.  I shouldn’t really complain that the ABC are a bit more careful.

I do think that they’ve gone a bit too far, though.  The ABC pages I’ve seen on Facebook – eg, the ABC Radio Melbourne 774 page – has posting disabled.  If you’re a fan, you can comment on their posts – but you can’t create your own.  Why?  I don’t know.  Moderation is the obvious initial answer – but they can’t stop a comment appearing any more than they can a post.  And they can delete either.  Perhaps I’m missing something.

That’s not what Mark was talking about at all, of course.  He’s chuffed – and with some justification, I suppose – that the ABC are the bastion of ozculture, and are embracing new technologies in distributing said culture.  I’m glad to see shows like Art Nation and First Tuesday Book Club becoming available through ‘parallel social networks’, as Mark charmingly puts it.  We’ll always need more of the yartz down under.

Posted in ABC, FaceBook | 2 Comments

Hello world!

Hi, wordpress.  How’re you going?  I’m a long-time reader, first time blogger …

I’m a student enrolled in a course looking at digital media cultures.  Blogging is a requirement of the course.  I don’t expect this to be too much of a chore, as I’m an opinionated, bearded old bore who’s used to issuing both monologues and soliloquies.

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